Our Lady of the Flowers
Our Lady of the Flowers

Jean Genet's first, and arguably greatest, novel was written while he was in prison. As Sartre recounts in his introduction, Genet penned this work on the brown paper which inmates were supposed to use to fold bags as a form of occupational therapy. The masterpiece he managed to produce under those difficult conditions is a lyrical portrait of the criminal underground of Paris and the thieves, murderers and pimps who occupied it. Genet approached this world through his protagonist, Divine, a male transvestite prostitute. In the world of Our Lady of the Flowers, moral conventions are turned on their head. Sinners are portrayed as saints and when evil is not celebrated outright, it is at least viewed with a benign indifference. Whether one finds Genet's work shocking or thrilling, the novel remains almost as revolutionary today as when it was first published in 1943 in a limited edition, thanks to the help of one its earliest admirers, Jean Cocteau.

Title Our Lady of the Flowers
Author Jean Genet
Publisher Grove Press
Title First Published 12 January 1994
Format Paperback
Nb of pages 272 p.
ISBN-10 0802130135
ISBN-13 9780802130136
Publication Date 12 January 1994
Main content page count 272
Weight 16 oz.

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